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Volunteer Opportunities


The assistant to the Presider at Eucharist, this person has tasks before Mass (lighting candles, preparing the altar, etc; during Mass (holding the sacramentary for the priest, assisting during the communion rite) and after Mass (cleaning up). Training is offered! Acolytes are scheduled over three months. Anyone 12 years and older is welcome to train for this ministry. On-going formation is provided periodically. Time: approximately once a month, all year round.

Adult & Family Ministry

This ministry includes teaching in the senior’s learning program (SOAL), coordination of various events, service on the RCIA team, facilitating the adult Confirmation process or working with young adults, or leading a Scripture Study Group. Time: Can vary from a once a year commitment to once a week during the school year; can be for an hour or two or several hours month. Place: Nearly all activities are at St. James although some are done cooperatively and will be at other parish sites. Contact: the Christian Formation Office at 251-0897.

Art & Environment

Provides and sets up the various environments in church according to the liturgical seasons. Members of this ministry put together floral arrangements, sew banners, set up and take down all environment by season. Interest is the only quality needed! Easter and Christmas are the busiest seasons but volunteers are needed for all seasons. Time: at Easter and Christmas, commitment of up to 4 hours. Meetings are also held in advance of each season to plan the environment for that period. Contact the parish office for further information.

Bereavement Ministry

Dedicated to helping members of our parish community during times of mourning and grief, parishioners volunteer to be present at the visitation/vigil and funeral as hospitality ministers or to be a bereavement companion, who keeps in touch with the family for one year after the death of a loved one. This ministry is one of compassion and listening, of offering resources, and nurturing those who grieve. Hospitality ministers are on call while bereavement companions make a minimum of four contacts in a year. Time: Hospitality ministers usually make a 2 to 4 hour commitment while bereavement companions typically spend about 10 hours per family over a year’s time.  Contact the parish office.

Blood Pressure Screening

Health Ministry: St. James has a pastoral health care coordinator who fosters a number of processes to help parishioners maintain a healthy life style. Volunteers, already trained in technique for taking blood pressures, are part of three of these: blood pressure screening, home visits and providing meals for a family in crisis. Blood pressure screeners: must be a health professional (doctor, RN, EMT or nurse’s aide) and will have a review of procedures with the pastoral health care coordinator.  This service is not meant to substitute for regular doctor visits. Home Visitors: at least once or twice a month for one or two parish members; also make regular contact by phone. Share information about the parish, share faith and offer to pray with them. May bring them to Eucharist, do one or two minor household tasks or provide limited transportation. Must commit to one year of service. Also meet twice a year with the pastoral health care coordinator and others doing home visiting. Training is offered once a year for this Ministry. Meals in crisis’: provides one meal a day for those in need. Several volunteers will rotate serving the same family during the time of need. Must be able to cook and deliver the meal, which is usually supper. The Health Ministry Committee is my advisory committee and I invite qualified people to be part of this committee, plus we have a Parish Council liaison. For our sick and homebound parishioners, the Home/Nursing Home visitors are the link to the faith community. It is a very important, much needed and gratifying ministry. Contact the St. James office.

Christian Formation

Child Ministry: the greatest need year after year is for catechists for each of the specific grade levels from preschool to 5th grade. There are many other opportunities too – for classroom aides, office helpers, project coordinators, mentors, Vacation Bible School volunteers. If you have a talent, there is a place for it in this program. Please call the Christian Formation Office at 251-0897 for more information or if you are interested in volunteering.

Youth Ministry: Again the greatest need each year is for catechists. Following close behind it is those who are willing to be chaperones for retreats (freshman, sophomore, Confirmation) and for mission trips. There are also opportunities to be a classroom aide, office helper, committee member or activity planner. If you have a talent, there is a place for it in youth programming G.I.F.T. (Growing in Faith Together). This ministry is an intergenerational program in which mush of what is done is handled by those who participate in this program, but we could use help with childcare, people who might be interested in being a catechist once or twice a month as well as occasional kitchen help. For more information please contact: The Christian Formation Office at 251-0897. Youth Mission Trips: Each year there is a youth mission trip, a major service opportunity for high school students. Adult chaperones are needed as well. This trip’s purpose is to reach out to those in need, primarily by improving their housing. The youth reach out to those in poverty while enhancing the spiritual growth of participating youth and adults. Groups from a variety of congregations work together at a particular site. Time: Mission trips requires a full week commitment during the summer, usually in July. Prior to the trip a preparation meeting and an overnight retreat are held for participants. Helping with fund raisers such as a car wash, spaghetti supper and van support are required. Committee members usually have a planning meeting once a month. Place: the preliminary events are usually at St. James; the site can be anywhere in the United States and is usually known nearly a year in advance. Contact: The Christian Formation Office at 251-0897.


These are the folks who come because of any announcement in the bulletin that the order of worship or a mailing is being put together. They spend an hour or two one morning collating, stapling, putting on mail labels – whatever is needed. They also snack and socialize.

Community Banquet

The Community Banquet is a free meal offered twice a month at St. James with volunteers providing the meal. In existence a little more than five years, its purpose is to serve nutritious, hot meals to anyone who chooses to attend. The meal provides not only food but fellowship. St. James is part of the rotation for this meal, providing a team to do one of several tasks six or seven times per year. Those tasks include cooking and serving, set up and desserts, and cleanup. We welcome new people to help with these tasks at any time during the year. Time: 2nd and 4th Thursdays each month at St. James. The meal is served at 5:30. Contact St. James 262-251-3944.

Direct Service

Through Parish Giving to Meet Immediate Needs the Human Concerns Committee facilitates parishioners to meet the immediate needs of our local and wider communities through donations to various programs throughout the year. These programs include the Sussex Area Food Pantry, School Backpack Drive, Christmas Giving Tree, Souper Bowl Sunday, Rice Bowls, Easter Baskets and Panera Bread Sales. Individuals and families can get involved with service through the donation of resources or by assisting with running the programs. Other opportunities for parish direct service programs to meet the needs of the poor and distressed or to empower them to help themselves are welcome and can be brought forward by parishioners to the Human Concerns committee for consideration at any time. Contact: Jeff/Lynn Kenkel at 262-227-9862.

Eucharistic Adoration

St. James sponsors this devotion every Tuesday from 8:30 to 5:30 pm. Its purpose is to spend time in private prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It is a wonderful opportunity for families to pray together, no age is too young. Time: 1 hour weekly. Place: St. James Historic Chapel, all year round. Contact the parish office at 262-251-3944.

Eucharistic Minister for Mass

Members of the assembly who distribute the Body and Blood of Christ during the Communion rite. Each potential minister must attend one training session. Captains have a wider duty – to prepare the wine and hosts and make sure that all distributors are present at that Mass, bring the hosts from the tabernacle during Mass and wash the vessels afterwards. On-going formation is provided periodically. Time: Scheduled in three month blocks, a minister usually is assigned several times. The individual needs to arrive 15-20 minutes before Masses, the captain a half hour. Open to teens and adults. Contact Mary Syverson 262-246-8834.

Eucharistic Minister For Sick and Homebound

Members of the assembly who distribute the Body and Blood of Christ during the Communion rite. Each potential minister must attend one training session. Captains have a wider duty – to prepare the wind and hosts and make sure that all distributors are present at that Mass, bring the hosts from the tabernacle during Mass and wash the vessels afterwards. On-going formation is provided periodically. Time: Scheduled in three month blocks, a minister usually is assigned several times. The individual needs to arrive 15-20 minutes before Masses, the captains a half hour. Open to teens and adults. Contact the church office.

Finance Committee

This group provides financial guidance for the parish, working closely with the director of administrative services. They create the budget, review the financial records of the parish, raise funds and, of course, attend the monthly committee meetings. Trustees are part of this committee as well. Contact Terri Weber at 262-253-2259.


Couples preparing for marriage take a marriage inventory entitled, FOCCUS – Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study – which is administered by a couple in the parish. FOCCUS couples receive training through the Archdiocese to use this communications tool with engaged couples. The all-day training is offered once or twice a year. The FOCCUS instrument helps the engaged couple to discuss topics such as life-styles, communications, religion and values, parenting, finances, sexuality, rediness, and marriage as a covenant. The trained FOCCUS volunteers help the engaged couple to discuss these topics in preparation for their marriage. FOCCUS couples often find their involvement with this process to be enriching for their own marriages. Time: FOCCUS couples arrange to meet with the engaged couples at mutually agreeable times. They usually meet two or three times for an hour or so each time. Contact the Parish Office.

Food Pantry

Officially Sussex-area Outreach Services (SOS), this social ministry is sponsored by the cooperating Churches of Sussex of which St. James is a member. The services include the food pantry, financial assistance, a clothing bank and sharing of resources with clients who are primarily the working poor and the older adult on a very limited income. Volunteers sort donations, stock shelves, help clients with their specific needs and, on occasion, deliver food to those who are not mobile. Time: Volunteers work primarily daytime hours, often outside the pantry hours. Those hours are Mondays: 5:30-7:30 pm, Wednesdays 1:00-2:30 pm, Saturdays 10:00 am – noon. Place: N64W23760 Main Street in Sussex. Contact The Director at 246-9860.


Ministers of hospitality, members of the assembly, who help provide a welcoming environment by being at one of the entry doors before each Mass to welcome all who come. Each potential greeter attends one training session. There is a three month schedule provided for this all-year-round ministry. The greatest need is at the 4:30 pm Saturday Mass as well as holy days and holidays. High school age and older are welcome in this ministry while younger children are encouraged to volunteer with their parents. Time: typically several weeks in that three months at a particular Mass, arriving at least 30 minutes ahead of the Mass time.

Justice Education & Advocacy

Through the integration of Justice Education in the life of the parish, Human Concerns seeks to respond to the call of the US bishops for a renewed commitment to integrate Catholic social teaching into the mainstream of all Human Concerns programs. Our objective is to create opportunities for learning and discussion on social issues by working closely with Christian Formation, parish council, liturgy planning and others to carry out formation within the parish so that “every Catholic understands how the Gospel and church teaching call us to choose life, to serve the least among us, to hunger and thirst for justice, and to be peacemakers.” Individuals can get involved with justice education by working on a team to develop and lead programs and by participating in education opportunities such as programs, workshops, speakers, outreach, and book discussion groups. Please contact us if you are interested. Contact Debra or Paul Schneider at 262-538-1883. Advocacy in advocacy, we are called to act within the constructs of our communities to seek out the root causes of why people are poor, suffering, homeless, sick or alienated. Often issues of injustice, either intentional or unintentional, exist within societies that cause poverty, homelessness, or the inability for people to receive adequate healthcare. Advocacy focuses on seeking out the underlying causes of suffering and works to change the social structures that cause that suffering. While charity meets the immediate needs of individuals, advocacy works to permanently change the underlying issues that cause individuals to be in need. As Catholics we are “called to use our talents, the resources of our faith, and the opportunities of this democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of the human person.” (USCCB,94) Contact Debra or Paul Schneider at 262-538-1883.

Knights of Columbus

An association of Catholic men whose purpose is to serve God through the practice of the principles of charity, unity and fraternity and patriotism throughout the community and the church. Our council volunteer activities include participating in Welcome Sunday, Mass on the Grass, ushering at Holy Hill, as well as providing several parish pancake breakfasts throughout the year, selling parish raffle tickets, and selling Entertainment books (to support their charitable outreach), and having the Tootsie Roll sale to benefit the mentally handicapped. The dollars made through these activities (if any) are for individuals who experience a life altering event. Time: 15 hours a year, including meetings on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Place: mostly at St. James. Contact Steve Ehr at 251-2426.


Members of the assembly who proclaim the Work of God at each of the liturgies. There are two lectors at each Mass, one who reads the first reading and one who reads the second reading as well as the prayers of the faithful. Lectors are scheduled for one month at a time and expected to proclaim the Word each week during that month. The potential lector should have strong public speaking skills prior to volunteering. Teens and adults are welcome. Children from 4th grade can begin preparing by reading the Prayers of the Faithful. Time: Lectors are required to attend a two-hour preparation session prior to the month they are scheduled. On-going formation occurs at this time. The individual lector arrives at least 20 minutes before Mass for immediate preparation. Contact Bob Stolarczyk at 246-6505.

Local and Wider Community Outreach

Local and Wider Community Outreach Parish Tithing: St. James tithes a percentage of the general collection to the poor through local, national, and international organizations with emphasis on local charities. We tithe to about 60 charities that feed, clothe, shelter, heal, train, or advocate for those in need.  Priority Community Relationships: In addition to tithing, Human Concerns focuses on 6 programs, to foster a closer physical relationship between St. James parishioners and those people in need. Particular awareness, education and involvement are promoted for the following: Milwaukee: St Bens Meal program, Repairers of the Breach, Waukesha: Hebron House of Hospitality Interfaith Senior Programs, Sussex: St. James-St. Vincent DePaul Program, Sussex Area Outreach Programs. To get involved with these programs contact St. James Parish at 262-251-3944.

Mini Work Camp

This takes place around the middle of April and is a day-long commitment to help senior citizens in the area with Spring Clean Up tasks such as raking, cleaning gutters, washing windows, and more, Youth grade 7 and up are asked to help as well as adults who transport, supervise and work with groups of 4 or 5 youth for the day. Meals are provided throughout the day and the event ends with a dinner and closing program in which the seniors that were served come back and join us. Help is always needed on the Planning committee which usually begins in January at Christ Our Savior. Contact the parish office at 262-251-3944.

Music Ministry

Members of the assembly who support all gathered through sung prayer. Choir, cantor and instrumentalist opportunities exist weekly and for holy days. There is also a funeral choir. All skill levels are welcome and there are no auditions. Training and preparation occur during the weekly rehearsal sessions. Dedicated third graders and older grade school children as well as teens and adults of all ages are welcome. Time: rehearsals are held on Monday evenings the 2nd, 3rd & 4th week of the month for cantors and choir, lasting about 2 hours. Additional rehearsal for the ensemble group occurs on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Music ministers also volunteer to sing for the Chili Thing as a fund raiser and partnering, in January and Mass on the Grass in July. Contact Barbara Schuelke at 253-2225.

Parish Council Committees

St. James is blessed with several thriving committees, each with a particular focus. Each of these committees meets on the first Wednesday of the month beginning at 7 PM with common prayer and then moving into specific committee groups. The typical time commitment for each of these is 2 to 4 hours a month including the committee meeting.

Parish Trustees

Every parish in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is a separate corporation. The legal body of that incorporation has five members: the Archbishop, a vicar-general, the pastor or parish director and two trustees elected by the congregation. One trustee is designated secretary and the other treasurer; they are elected for two year terms. They must be members of the parish and at least 25 years of age. Trustees are members of the parish council and of the finance committee as well. They are entrusted with overseeing the parish’s civil and legal matters. Time: All-committee night, the parish council meeting and signing of checks weekly usually averages 6 to 8 hours a month. Contact Terri Weber at 253-2259.

Prayer Network

Any parishioner is welcome to participate in this prayer for the needs of others, especially those that are written in the parish book of intentions (located in the gathering space) for the needs of the parish, the church and the world. Time: whatever the individual can give, but hopefully some time is dedicated each day to the needs of others. Place: Wherever the individual prays but also in the historic chapel during Eucharistic Adoration on Tuesdays. To be added to the Prayer Network Contact Terri Grimmer at

Sister Parish Relationships

Sister Parish Relationships: Every Church is both mission-sending and mission-receiving. Human Concerns fosters an ongoing relationship characterized by solidarity and mutuality. Solidarity – through prayer, justice needs, moral & financial help, and Mutuality – through offering each other our strengths and acknowledging our need of each other’s gifts. Locally St. James has a twinning relationship with St. Martin de Porres in Milwaukee. At this time, Human Concerns is actively pursuing an International Sister Parish Relationship to share the gospel with the people in other lands and cultures. All ages can be involved: elders, youth and children. An attitude and desire to learn from the faith, culture and experience of each other enriches everyone. To get involved with our wider community or international sister parishes Contact St. James at 262-251-3944.


S.O.A.L. ~ St. James Older Adult Learning is a program designed for adults 50 years of age and above to strengthen their mind, body and spirit as well as provide fellowship. It helps participants grow in knowledge through different courses to learn or refresh skills. Volunteers are needed to help providing the noon meal during the six week sessions in spring and fall, to prepare the mailings each season, to be teachers for the various courses such as music, art, bible study and hand crafts. Volunteers are also part of the planning committee. Time: Six Fridays in fall and six Fridays in the spring, 2 hours up to all day (8:30 am – 3:00 pm). The planning committee meets about 4 times a year for an hour and a half each time. Place: All at St. James. Contact Sue Devine-Simon at 262-253-2904.

St. Vincent de Paul

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an organization of lay men and women, who are inspired by Gospel values and gather for spiritual growth by offering person to person service to those in need. St. Vincent de Paul conferences are active in over 140 countries and may be found in nearly every parish in our Archdiocese. The St. James conference was revived in the summer of 2006 and has 29 active members. Vincentians participate in a four-hour training program and receive further support and information through regular attendance at the parish meetings and activities. Requests for help come to the parish and are relayed to the society which assigns a pair of Vincentians for a personal home visit. The poor and needy in our parish are families are individuals on limited income who are having problems paying their rent, heat, electricity and may not even have enough money to buy food. They are young and old, the lonely, and the homebound. A job loss or sudden major health issue can put families into dangerous financial situations. St. Vincent de Paul often provides emergency help with food, gas vouchers, or financial assistance for rent or utilities. Members offer additional resource materials and contacts and many times simply provide a listening ear and caring spirit to those who are overwhelmed. Other ways to service include serving meals to the poor, volunteering in one of our thrift stores, etc. The amount of time you with to give is completely up to you. Meetings: We meet at 7:00 pm on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month in the Community Center.

St. Ben’s Meal Program

St. James provides and serves food once a month (the third Wednesday) at St. Ben’s meal site on 9th Street in Milwaukee. Volunteers prepare either salads, side dishes or desserts and deliver them to St. James the day of the meal between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm. Other volunteers take the food to the site and help serve the meal. Time: the third Wednesday of each month. Place: food brought to St. James, then transported to St. Ben’s. Contact Jeff/Lynn Kenkel at 262-227-9862.

St. Martin de Porres

This parish on 2nd and Burleigh is our sister parish, a relationship to share mutual human concerns needs of both parishes while developing an intercultural understanding of our common faith. Volunteers participate in specific projects, which are announced in the bulletin or parish newsletter. Our two parishes are working together to rehab houses in the St. Martin’s neighborhood. Volunteers, 16 and older, are needed at the work site to do a variety of repair and reconstruction tasks. Time: dependent on project. Place: either at St. James or St. Martin de Porres. Contact Lois Severson at 538-1244 (for a variety of projects) or Paul and Debra Schneider at 538-1883 (for housing rehab).

Stewardship Committee

The purpose of this committee is to touch the hearts of St. James community so parishioners might respond to the call to stewardship as outlined in biblical teachings. It sees all groups and individuals as a vital part of helping stewardship be an integral part of parish life, working to make the mission of the parish more fully realized. This committee is involved in the Time and Talent survey, the annual pledge card summary and the Stewardship Fair. Contact the parish office.

Tending Gardens

There are about a dozen garden spaces around the property that are adopted by parishioners, one individual or family to each plot. They plan them and tend them throughout the growing season. Contact St. James at 262-251-3944.


These people are ministers of hospitality who assist with all aspects of Mass, supporting and attending to the needs of the assembly. They welcome all, offering them an order of worship, seating late comers, coordinating the collection of gifts, helping with the communion procession, assisting those who are sick or have other needs and distributing the bulletins after Mass. Time: Ushers are assigned on an every other month basis to a particular Eucharist for that entire month. They serve as a member of a team with (2) captains. Ushers arrive a half hour before Mass and should plan on staying about 15 minutes after Mass. More ushers are currently needed for all Mass times. More ushers are always needed for Christmas and Mass on the Grass. Contact the Parish Office.

Wedding Hosts

Wedding hosts and hostesses set up the environment for the wedding celebration in church (placement of the bride and groom chairs, unity candle stand, etc.) and greet the wedding party as they arrive for the rehearsal. They assist the Presider in the rehearsal and answer questions of the bridal party. On the wedding day they greet the bridal party, turn on lights, prepare the liturgical items, and generally serve as hospitality ministers for the bridal party before and during the wedding celebration. This ministry is an important part of the welcoming mission of St. James Parish. Time: About 2 hours for a rehearsal (about a half hour before and after the actual rehearsal) and about an hour or so before the wedding and an hour after the wedding celebration. Wedding hospitality ministers usually serve at about four weddings per year. Contact the Parish Office.